The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances has received 37 new complaints of alleged enforced disappearance from across the country in October, the monthly report released by the commission revealed.
The commission statistics for the month of October added that the commission traced 30 people last month – of whom 18 persons returned to their homes, 8 were found imprisoned in internment centres of the security forces, 3 are confined in jails and the dead body of one person was found. The commission statistics indicate that a total of 14 cases were deleted due to not being deemed to be cases of enforced disappearance.
As per the data of cases from March 2011, when the commission was established, till October 2021, the commission received 8,154 complaints related to enforced disappearances out of which it has disposed of 5,924 cases, while the whereabouts of 2,267 persons could not be ascertained during the course of inquiry.
The data shows that since the establishment of the commission a total of 3,119 people returned to their homes, 925 were confined in internment centres established by the military, 579 were imprisoned in jails and the dead bodies of 226 people were found.
Out of a total of 925 persons confined in different internment centres in the country, 91 belong to Punjab, 768 hail from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 41 hail from Sindh, 20 persons are residents of the federal capital Islamabad, 1 from Baluchistan, 3 from AJK, and 1 person belongs to Gilgit-Baltistan.
It should be noted here that the chief justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC), Justice Athar Minallah, in a judgment issued in July 2018 observed that enforced disappearance is an act of terrorism. The 47-page judgment passed in the case of a missing IT expert — who was picked up from his home in Sector F-10 — introduced strict penal consequences for officials involved in enforced disappearances.
The commission noted that a total of 1,075 cases were deleted by the commission as they were lodged in the category of enforced disappearances but during the investigation, these cases were deemed to be not of enforced disappearance.
The commission data shows that in the year 2016, the commission received 728 complaints of alleged enforced disappearance, 868 in 2017, 1,098 complaints in 2018, 800 complaints in 2019, 415 complaints in 2020 while a highest 1,270 complaints were received in the first 10 months of the current year 2021.
The Peshawar High Court (PHC) in 2019 in a detailed judgment had directed the home secretary to declare all internment centres of the province to be sub-jails under the law within 24 hours of receiving a copy of the judgment and asked the inspector general of prisons to take control of such facilities in the next three days, but later the apex court suspended the orders of the Peshawar High Court.